The Connected Learning Initiative is taking knowledge, skills and values to high school students for 21st century success.
Using Technology in Classrooms
It’s true what they say, ‘Technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational’. Using new technology in classrooms piques a student’s curiosity, can make them more eager to learn and opens the doors to a different kind of learning experience. This can especially impact the country’s most underserved children as technology is both an enabler and an equaliser. So why don’t we see more technology in our classrooms?
The biggest roadblocks that schools and teachers face on the journey to digitising the learning process is the lack of resources and infrastructure. However, there are organisations working towards easing these challenges like The Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx).
Technology: Now a CLIx away
CLIx is the brainchild of the Tata Trust, TISS and MIT and was ideated as an initiative to use technology in a manner that boosts secondary education in India on a large scale. The initiative collaborates with government bodies to train teachers and to give children a hands-on learning experience so that they can face the challenges of the 21st century.
Anusha Ramanathan, member of the English Team at CLIx shares, “The lack of quality education for children motivated us to find ways in which we could provide opportunities to children through meaningful integration of technology.”
By combining technology and curriculum, CLIx has definitely made learning more fun.
Making learning fun and interactive!
Lalmawipuii, a teacher in Aizawl, Mizoram, would often look to her class for answers after completing a lesson, only to realise that the students weren’t confident enough to raise their hands, let alone form a statement of their own.
“I didn’t see them working together and I knew that they needed a structure for learning that was interactive, and got them more interested in their curriculum while encouraging them to work together.” shares Lalmawipuii.
With her class being introduced to CLIx , Lalmawipuii’s students are now engaging with the curriculum and with each other in a manner that excites them. Through Police Quad, a game developed for geometric reasoning, the students learn concepts, put them to practice through online games and then participate in post-game discussions.
“We can now enjoy and learn Maths at the same time.” says Varsha Sen, a student.
With the implementation of the initiative in their schools, students are not only sharing ideas and thoughts with each other, but are also experiencing an interactive way of understanding their everyday syllabus. Prarthna Sreshtha, a student in Aizawl shares, “I like how we study geometry because we don’t always understand the shapes in our books. The games bring them alive for us.”
The emphasis on regional languages, in the form of student modules and teacher workshops, helps ensure that language barriers don’t affect the form in which students learn. Currently, over 55,000 students in 460 schools, spanning four states are learning better.
Envisioning a change
The project envisions to see a change in the way that teaching and learning are perceived in high schools. At the moment, most schools focus on skills needed to succeed in examinations. In contrast, this model believes that children should be prepared for participation and success in real life situations. Nisha, a student in a government school in Rajasthan, excitedly shares, “We are able to connect the lessons to our everyday lives and maybe, one day, they’ll help us somewhere in life.”
The power of collaboration is evident in how the initiative has thrived on strong partnerships developed with the government so far. Presently, the CLIx model is being implemented in four states – Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram. Learning from their experiences in these four states, they have created a certification course for in-service teachers. Nisha Lal, the headmistress of a government school in Jaipur, says, “The training gives teachers the confidence to use technology in class.” These continuous efforts by CLIx have ensured that there is learning for both students and teachers.
CLIx sees teachers as one of the most impactful stakeholders and has chalked out a clear plan for their professional development.
Using joyful stories and beautiful illustrations!
CLIx is using content from Pratham Books’ StoryWeaver to expose children to joyful English reading material with an Indian context- characters and settings they can actually relate to.
“We were thrilled when we came across StoryWeaver and realised that there are others who release their materials under open licenses.” shares Anusha.
The English Team has built its English beginner unit 1 course around stories from StoryWeaver which have been made into movies with narration. Students are also encouraged to create stories from openly licensed images from StoryWeaver using CLIx’s own Open Story Tool. The tool allows students to select images, record their voices and write captions for each image. The colourful illustrations make story creation really exciting for children. Anusha shares, “The chance to create their own stories has really excited students and has led to the rich articulation of their imagination. We are awed each time we visit the schools and see their work.”
CLIx comprises of highly motivated and passionate team members who plan to impact 5,000 teachers and over 1 lakh students in the near future. They want to ensure that they leverage the strong partnerships that they’ve established in the four states and alter the way teachers teach and children learn. Nothing seems to be stopping them, so here’s hoping that they achieve their goals and more. Because true transformation needs both – technology and passion.